Camden oozes alternative cool – with a well-cemented reputation as one of London’s livelier areas. Looking for the best Camden bars for your cheeky night out? Here’s where to start.
Camden has no shortage of bars: whether you’re looking for a grunge hangout, hidden drinking spots or chic cocktails, you’re guaranteed to find it in Camden. What else would you expect from an area that’s pretty much cemented its reputation as one of London’s coolest spots?
Finding a good bar though? That takes a little more effort.
Luckily for you, I’ve done all the grunt work trying and testing Camden’s bars to work out which ones are worthy of your time and which ones you can skip without any FOMO.
The Best Bars in Camden
Fifty-Five is one of the stalwarts of the Camden Town bar scene. Set over two levels, this laidback bar has been serving up fabulous cocktails for more than a decade, and has become an integral part of the fabric of Camden.
Why do you care?
Because that means they’ve had lots of practice when it comes to creating banging concoctions for your evening tipple.
Hands-down one of the best cocktail bars in Camden, Fifty-Five boasts a cocktail list with more than 160 cocktails. Safe to say that you’re pretty spoilt for choice then.
Forget pretentious bars, everyone is welcome at Fifty Five. It’s the kind of place you can grab a bunch of your friends and head out for some great conversation, a bit of dancing and some fab drinks.
There’s a regular calendar of fun events including Tipple Tuesday (with £6 cocktails) and Hot Wings Wednesdays. Then there’s Thirsty Thursday which features cheap drinks and great live music. Not to mention a daily happy hour that does a pretty good job of making everyone very happy indeed.
It’s generally frowned upon to bring your own drinks to a bar, but it’s absolutely encouraged at BYOC Camden.
Nope, there’s no need to feel nervous as you whisk that bottle past security here. Bringing your own bottle of rare spirits is what is going to make your evening sing.
The concept is simple. You bring a bottle of whichever spirit you choose and BYOC will spend two hours making you amazing cocktails with said bottle. What could go wrong?
The privilege will set you back £30, a fair price for one of the skilled bartenders to mix up some amazing cocktails (using the bar’s own range of mixtures and tinctures) for you over two hours. Perfect for when you have that gorgeous bottle but your mixology skills don’t quite do it justice.
If you’d prefer not to smuggle in your own booze, there is plenty to buy over the bar.
Simmons Camden Town
Simmons claims to be the best bar in Camden – I’m not sure if it quite lives up to that moniker, but it has a bloody good go in the process.
This quirky cocktail bar has a distinctly retro vibe, complete with an explosion of neon signs and even some vintage console games. Then there’s the extra little quirks, like a psychedelic disco skull.
Things are made even better by the generous calendar of live music – Wednesdays are usually the best night to catch up-and-coming acts in Camden Town.
Their happy hour is also seriously legendary. Think £2.5 for a mixed spirit or two-cocktails-for-a-tenner legendary – yeah, I’d recommend dropping by between 4pm and 9pm Sunday to Thursday.
On the downside, service is slow and sometimes it can feel like the queue for the bar takes longer than drinking the drinks do…. But hey, you win some, you lose some.
It’s amazing to think how London has changed and evolved over the years – take Gabeto for instance.
This fabulously cool bar in Camden was once a Victorian stablehouse. Many of the building’s original features have been kept, but now it serves up delicious food and drink to humans rather than horses.
An all night eatery and bar that features a great menu, great tunes and great vibes – . The fabulous art – mostly from local artists – adds to the overall charm.
Both the drink and food menus are Latin-inspired. There’s a particular focus on delectable mojitos, while the food options include delicious platters as well as fajitas and tacos.
There’s never a bad time to visit Gabeto, but it’s particularly fun during the regular events including tastings and dance clances.
The Camden Assembly
What’s better than an awesome cocktail? An awesome cocktail to accompany a brilliant burger.
First up, the cocktails at Camden Assembly are right on the mark.
No frills, no fuss, just a straight-up great cocktail. The list is small and features many a favourite classic – take Tommy’s Margaritas (who was Tommy? I think he’s a total hero) and Espresso Martinis as two examples.
Then we get to the burgers. I know this is a piece about cool bars in Camden, but those burgers are too good not to talk about them. Made by Burger & Beyond, they should be at the top of any burger-lover’s must-try list.
Juicy patties are sandwiched between fluffy demi-brioche buns with a host of suitable accoutrements – and I am totally here for the result – one of London’s best.
Oh, and did I mention the Camden Assembly is also one of the area’s coolest live music spots? All-round excellence.
My pick of the late night bars in Camden is the brilliant Jazz Cafe on the Parkway. Not only does this bar stay open later than most (through to 3am), but it’s all-around one of the best.
Whether you consider yourself a jazz aficionado or you’ve never experienced it, you’ll be welcome at the Jazz Cafe.
The legendary venue boasts a great calendar of events that feature some of the big names in jazz, as well as up-and-coming artists. While jazz is certainly the emphasis, other genres such as soul and reggae also make an appearance.
There’s also a great food menu featuring options like chili crab linguine and rib-eye steak. Then there’s the delectable drinks list, complete with classics like margaritas and old fashioneds.
Boasting London’s largest whiskey collection (now that’s saying something) and a menu inspired by the soul food of New Orleans, the Blues Kitchen is an iconic part of the Camden nightlife.
And what could go better with whiskey and soul food than good old blues music?
Luckily, the Blues Kitchen well and truly delivers, with an exceptional calendar of live music from mostly UK and US artists.
With such a comprehensive list of whiskeys, narrowing down your choices can be a challenge – but helpfully, the menu is split up into sections and the bar staff are full of knowledge. Bottoms up.
Ladies & Gentlemen Bar
Bad choices make good stories…
It’s almost like the guys at Ladies & Gentlemen Bar know exactly what it takes to make a great night out.
The formula goes a little something like this. Take some brilliant cocktails, add a dash of attitude and a lot of gin and voila, you have one of the best Camden bars.
That’s even more impressive when you consider that this particular branch of Ladies & Gentlemens only opened earlier this year.
PS: It’s no surprise that Ladies & Gentlemen also features on my pick of the Best Gin Bars in London
Camden Town Brewery Bar
Bars don’t need to be all about the wine and spirits – beer gets a look in too. Especially when the beer is as good as it is as the Camden Town Brewery Bar.
Located under two railway arches, this Camden bar has a distinctly gritty edge that goes perfectly with the label’s bold beers like the Hells Lager and Camden Ink.
Rather than cook up their own meals (more room for beer-drinking), Camden Town Brewery Bar has outsourced to a range of food trucks that set up just outside the bar. The selection is ever-changing, and is always a surprise.
They also run a full calendar of events including tasting evenings and brewery tours.
Made in Brasil
Experience some of those Brazilian beats at Made in Brasil, a fabulous cocktail bar in Camden. It’s hard to miss – just look for the colourful exterior complete with the iconic Christ the Redeemer image.
The exterior is not the only way that this great Camden lock bar honours Brazilian culture. It seems like every aspect of this fab bar has been inspired in some way.
There’s a great menu featuring Latino classics like Bolinhos de Bacalhau (cod salt fish cakes) and Coxinha (the famous Brazilian street food) – or try it all with a delicious tasting platter.
Of course, the only accompaniment to a Brazilian feast is a Capirinha, prepared to perfection (although there are also other options, too).
It wouldn’t be a Brazilian bar without some samba beats – so make sure you wear your dancing shoes and don’t be shy about hitting the dancefloor.
The Best Camden Bars: Practical Information and Map
- There are a lot of crappy places in Camden that, unless you’re absolutely desperate, are not worth your pennies. Avoid.
- I guess this is the point where I tell you to drink responsibly kiddos and all that jazz, but you’re grown-ass adults and I expect you will do whatever you want on that front.
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